Blog Articles
06
The Ayatollahs over in Iran say they want to enrich uranium so they can build a nuclear power plant and, if that were so, they could buy plutonium rods from Russia tomorrow and be in business.
 
But, instead, the Ayatollahs say they want to enrich uranium themselves with centrifuges which doesn’t sound unreasonable until you consider the Ayatollahs can’t make a nuclear bomb from a plutonium rod but they can with a centrifuge.
 
So it seems odd to learn that the President’s amenable to Iran keeping thousands of centrifuges on the theory that, at the end of the day, even if it’s not a nuclear power plant they’re after, they’ll still be a year away from building a nuclear bomb.
 

 

 

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05
A TAPster who spent many years as a private-sector economic developer offers this:
 
The myopic, confused and naïve approach of North Carolina Republicans to the state’s business recruitment efforts continues to baffle experts who toil daily to bring good jobs here.
 
Our Republicans are opposed to incentives as “corporate welfare,” and they don’t want taxpayer money going to “subsidize” private business.
 
Fine.
 
Why, then, do Republicans in South Carolina embrace incentives? Why do they give their governor a well-funded incentive plan and authority to aggressively lasso any prospect who comes along? And lure existing businesses from North Carolina?
 
It’s a mystery.
 
The NC House took a baby step this week when it passed a recruiting package, but it’s not enough and too late and even it has plenty of opposition.
 
Our Republicans need to crawl down from their philosophical high horse and take a trip down I-77 from Rock Hill to Columbia, or I-95 through Florence and look at the explosive growth of large businesses and job creators along those corridors. And talk to real people whose lives have been enhanced by a job at one of those places.

 

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05
This is about as good a tale of conniving as I’ve heard: I can’t remember why but forty years ago back in 1976 the state legislature moved our Presidential primary up from May to March – then the unexpected struck and Ronald Reagan whipped Gerald Ford.
 
It was the first time Reagan won a primary. And the only time a sitting President ever lost a primary. And it turned the 1976 election upside down.
 
Down in South Carolina, watching, inspiration struck Lee Atwater and, after a bit of conniving of his own, Lee got South Carolina to move its primary up so in 1980 South Carolina was the ‘first primary in the South.’
 
Atwater’s plan worked better than he ever imagined. The winner of the South Carolina’s primary has gone on to win the Republican nomination in 8 of the last 9 Presidential elections.
 
In fact, South Carolina liked its new status so much, at some point, it got together with Iowa and New Hampshire and persuaded the Republican National Committee to pass a rule saying no other state could hold a primary before March 1.
 
At the same time, after the 1976 election, the North Carolina legislature went back to business as usual – and holding primaries in May – and for the last 40 years the North Carolina’s Republican Primary hasn’t mattered a toot.
 
Which suited Democrats just fine – after all about the last thing, say, Jim Hunt wanted was a liberal like Walter Mondale or Michael Duhakis or Al Gore traipsing across the state while he was running for reelection.
 
But, then, Republicans took control of the legislature and decided we’d been sitting on the Presidential sidelines long enough and moved our primary up to the week after South Carolina’s.
 
Which seemed reasonable.
 
But, oddly, sent national Republican Chairman Reince Preibus into a tizzy – Preibus announced North Carolina would not be allowed to hold its primary before March 1 and, he added, if we tried he’d take away 60 of North Carolina’s 72 delegates to the Republican Convention.
 
Those sounded like fighting words but, rather than calling Preibus out, North Carolina’s Republican Chairman decided to strike the flag and traipsed over to the legislature to ask it to move the primary.
 
The State House played its cards pretty close to the vest and didn’t say much either way about Priebus’s edict. But Republican State Senator Bob Rucho didn’t buy it – Rucho stuck to his guns and he’s got a point.
 
It’s as easy for the National Republican Committee to change its rule as it is for us to change our law – and, after 40 years of playing second fiddle to South Carolina, it’s time to unwind this bit of political conniving.


 

 

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05
It rang a little jarring to open the newspaper and read, Stam Introduces First Bill of New Session – To Limit Eminent Domain.
 
No doubt Representative Skip Stam was right but it was a little like watching a knight errant tilting at a windmill – because, after all, Eminent Domain isn’t one of the burning issues of our time.
 
Then, about two weeks later, Representative Stam was back in the newspaper –announcing the fiscal prognosticators in state government were dead-wrong when they said there was a $270 million revenue shortfall.
 
This time the knight errant had sunk his teeth into a deception– and, it turned out, he wasn’t tilting at windmills. In fact, the state has $586 million more to spend this year than last year.
 
And calling that a shortfall was like calling more less.

 

 

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04
The Reverend William Barber got up to pray at a memorial service for three Muslim students killed in Chapel Hill and, right in the middle of his prayer, pointed his finger straight at Reverend Franklin Graham and said Graham lit the fuse to the powder keg that led to the murders.
 
Barber’s thinking went like this: He said Graham spoke out against Muslim students’ right to pray in Duke Chapel which poisoned the “Atmosphere” which triggered hatred of Muslims which drove an atheist from Chapel Hill to murder.
 
Meantime, in Washington, the Obama Administration’s explaining a theory of its own, saying young men join ISIS and become terrorists because of broken Political Systems – in places like Syria – that breed corruption and poverty .
 
So we have two new explanations for murder: The Atmosphere. And the System.
 
And the problem is obvious: A lot of poor politically disenfranchised young men never chop off a anyone’s head.
 
So why are they different?
 
Could it be Reverend Barber and President Obama have missed a darker power (that’s more capable of murder than the Atmosphere or a Broken System) that’s whispering to the young men who become terrorists?


 

 

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04
The saga of Tony (Thriller) Tata continues. You can just hear that guy who does the movie trailers: “By day, he’s the powerful commander of DOT. At night, he’s A.J. Tata, mild-mannered novelist.”
 
Tata’s two roles collided last week when icy roads caused thousands of accidents back home while Thriller was in Chicago flogging his newly released novel. (TAP is hoping for a free, autographed copy of said novel in exchange for the extensive publicity we give it).
 
On Monday, Tata sat down with WRAL’s David Crabtree to defend DOT’s performance, both when he’s here and when he’s not. Crabtree pressed him on Sunday morning’s 13-car pileup near RDU. Tata said: "I want people to understand that no amount of preparation is going to make black ice go away. But the crews try. The crews are pre-positioned. We know where the hot spots are."
 
Three PR notes here.
 
First, you know you’re on slippery ground (so to speak) when you’re in a one-on-one interview with the Big Anchor Guy.
 
Two, DOT secretaries would be wise to stay on the job in the winter.
 
Three, many a political career has foundered on storm response, or the lack thereof.

 

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03

 

The local school board has a new training program to teach teachers that all cultures are equal and to move away from the ‘belief any culture is superior to another’ – which sounds fine except the concept of cultural equality rests on a kind of moral relativism that leads to odd places.
 
Take ISIS. It’s culture is based on what it calls ‘Prophetic Methodology’ which views selling an infidel woman as a slave as a virtue.
 
Awhile back, when ISIS burned a Jordanian pilot, President Obama explained, Well, Christians have done some terrible things in the name of religion too – which is a diplomatic way to say: They’re bad. We’re bad. We’re all bad alike. Wickedness, too, is relative.  
 
But, despite our past sins, we do believe burning a pilot or selling a woman as a slave is wrong  – while ISIS sees both as right.
 
So are all cultures equal? Or do some practice more wickedness than others?


 

 

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03
Back when ex-Sen. Lauch Faircloth was a Democrat, he’d joke: “There are two things I’ve never understood: electricity and Republicans.” Evidently, he figured out Republicans, because he became one. But some of us still struggle. Three cases in point:
 
First: Republicans fought Obamacare because they said millions of Americans would lose their health insurance. Now millions of Americans who got insurance because of Obamacare, including half a million in North Carolina, could lose their health insurance because of a Republican-driven court challenge to Obamacare. How is that good political strategy for Republicans?
 
Second: Washington Republicans want to cut off funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is in charge of protecting Americans from evil groups like ISIS, which Republicans say is the greatest threat in the world to our lives and safety. How is that good political strategy?
 
Third: Imagine this scenario. President Ted Cruz gets at odds with the leader of a long-time American ally abroad. Speaker Nancy Pelosi invites said leader to address a joint session of Congress, against the President’s wishes. Would Republicans (a) praise Pelosi for welcoming our ally or (b) accuse her of treason?
 
Maybe we should just try to figure out electricity.

 

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02
A loyal TAPster outraged by Thom (No Clean Hands) Tillis contributes today’s blog:
 
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any colder last week, Senator Thom Tillis embarrassed North Carolina again, voting against Loretta Lynch’s nomination as US attorney general.
 
Lynch is the daughter of a Baptist minister from Greensboro who opened his church to protesters during the lunch-counter sit-ins of the 60s.  She attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School.  (Note to Thom:  That is THE Harvard University in Cambridge, not the online, for-profit version.) She has served as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.  She is known as a tough prosecutor of honest-to-God terrorists.
 
To that, all Tillis could muster was, “She was raised right.” Then he declared that the decision to vote against her in the Senate Judiciary Committee, “was the most difficult I’ve had to make in my 45 days on this job.”
 
Only 45 days?  It seems like an eternity already.
 
This “no” vote comes in the same Judiciary Committee meeting where three of the Senate’s most outspoken and curmudgeonly Republican senators--Orrin Hatch, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake-- voted for her confirmation. Yes, even Graham, our Confederate flag-waving neighbor to the South--South Carolina that is-- saw his way to a yea vote, because, he said, she is qualified for the job.
 
Could it be that Tillis was stung by her unapologetic support for the Justice Department’s lawsuit against North Carolina to overturn its draconian voter ID law—a law Tillis himself championed?
 
When civility and decorum take a backseat to pure meanness and race baiting, it is a cold, dark day in North Carolina. The condescension breaks in icy waves like the slush on Nantucket’s beaches.
 
As Reverend Barber put it, “To see other southern Republican senators put aside the politics of extremism and support attorney Lynch’s nomination and then watch Thom Tillis refuse is a tragic misrepresentation of the values of North Carolina and the call of history.  Shameful,” he said.
 
Shameful indeed.  And, shame on you, too, Richard Burr.

 

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27
Once upon a time, in the Shire of Raleigh, there was a company called Progress Energy, nee CP&L. The residents of the Shire oft complained about the company, but with affection. After all, its employees and managers and overlords and even its King lived amongst the people and even walked amongst them. The people knew that, when hurricane winds blew and wintry mixes fell, when lights blipped and power failed, and when their homes fell cold and dark, their friends at the company were hard at work getting things back in order. After all, their own families suffered with the people.
 
Then, one day, the Evil Empire of Duke invaded the Shire, seized control of Progress, beheaded the King, banished his court and moved the castle to the faraway Emerald City.
 
So when winter’s winds howled again and when ice and snow felled trees and snapped power lines, the people of the Shire wondered: Will the Empire come to our aid? Will the Emerald City care about our lowly Shire? Will the Queen even know of our plight?
 
For hours, thousands upon thousands of them shivered and shook in the cold and dark. They huddled together before fires. They trudged long distances to seek food and ale in nearby taverns. They looked for a hopeful word or a sign that they weren’t forgotten.
 
Whereupon one member of the Queen’s court decided to play a little joke on the people of the Shire. This courtier thought it amusing to tease the Shire with a picture of a warm and sunny waterfront in one of the Duke Empire’s far-flung colonies: St. Petersburg, Florida. The message to the Shire read: “To the snowy Carolinas: A picture from our St. Petersburg, FL office to warm you. Stay safe.”
 
To which the people of the Shire said, “Off with their heads.”

 

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Carter & Gary
 
Carter Wrenn
 
 
Gary Pearce
 
 
The Charlotte Observer says: “Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they both love North Carolina and know its politics inside and out.”
 
Carter is a Republican. 
Gary is a Democrat.
 
They met in 1984, during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Carter worked for Helms and Gary, for Hunt.
 
Years later, they became friends. They even worked together on some nonpolitical clients.
 
They enjoy talking about politics. So they started this blog in 2005. 
 
They’re still talking. And they invite you to join the conversation.
 
 
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